The F Bomb.
Sheer genius or universally offensive?
Fair warning: This is going to be an expletive-heavy entry. If you are uncomfortable with profanity — STOP HERE.
This isn’t an angry diatribe. I’m not mad at anyone or attempting to disguise a mouthing off. There won’t be any public ass-whoopings here today. This is merely a light-hearted examination of an extremely malleable and oft-used word. I realize not everyone will enjoy this piece, even though it is tongue-in-cheek. For those with a stronger tolerance, perhaps even childlike glee in waxing potty-mouth, read on.
I’ve never spoken like the stereotypical truck driver. I grew up with a mother who said things like “ding dab nab” and “oh sugar”, and a father who carefully censored what he said at home. It entertained my sister highly to try and get our mom to say the f-word, “C’mon mom, nobody else is here and we won’t tell anyone. Just once…” but she couldn’t break ma’s Shirley Temple tongue. This same sister ran fast & loose with the dirty words. Not in a meaningless way; she only used them in fitting circumstances. Actually, I’m amazed how many circumstances she can still successfully fit them to. :)
As a lover of language, I feel compelled to examine slang, especially that of the four-letter variety. There are many good curse words, but I’m going to focus on the “F” word, since I’m truly fascinated by the multitude of uses it has. Noun, verb, adverb, adjective; compliment, criticism, condemnation, comedy. It is truly the onesie of the English language.
Being able to construct a single thought almost completely from derivatives of a single word is pretty effing amazing. Consider the following: “Fuck that fucker. He’s fucked me for the last fucking time”. Limited vocabulary, or Master of the art of insult? Let the listener decide.
We’re not limited to verbalization either. Can’t talk? No worries, you can flip the finger. Or swiftly karate-chop your elbow with your other hand, allowing the impacted arm to swing up quickly. Or slide a stiff hand from you neck up under your chin in an exaggerated motion.
In mixed company? Not a problem, since you can easily disguise your fuxspressions. Simply put your ring finger, index finger, and forefinger straight up together, saying ‘read between the lines’. Or use your longest digit, independent of it’s neighbors, to purposefully scratch your forehead, nose, cheek, etc.
Still too harsh? Try a handy-dandy substitute. They’re a bit watered down, but they still have some oomph to them. And there are a fair amount to choose from: frick, frack, freak, friggin, fudge. Or just a bunch of symbols: $@#*!, which can mean shit as well as fuck, and is now affectionately pronounced ‘bleep’, due to the popularity of it’s use in a current hit sitcom. That’s right people, these vernaculars are becoming more and more prevalent in all areas of life― literature, advertising, music, art, film, etc. Rap originated as a medium to speak to a syncopated beat, a melodic poetry reading, if you will. It’s now become a contest to see who can cram the most vulgarities into 4 minutes of sampled music. Take away these colloquialisms and Rap becomes Raffi. (Well, a Raffi who gets drunk and high and bangs a lot of chicks.)
You can have even more fun if you cross-breed languages. For example, the French word for Seal is ‘phoque’, pronounced just as you think it would be. Now imagine replacing that in some very popular American sayings. Such as: “Sealed with a kiss”, or “The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”. It’s wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap gold.
We’ve got a slew of cultural blends too. Because sometimes you just can’t get your point across without a f*ck somewhere in there. Fugly, fuck buddy, fucktard, F’d in the A, Fuckville. Oh, and lest I forget, Fukitol (<– my favorite Rx). It’s also given birth to many acronyms: SNAFU, FUBAR, LMFAO, MILF, WTF. Peruse some social sites, phone texts, or instant messaging, and you’re likely to see quite a few initialed representations of one of the strongest curse words out there.
Sidebar: Personally, I’m waiting for the day FB invokes ‘the bird’ button (akin to the thumbs-up “Like”) to slap on people’s posts who aren’t currently in your good graces.
It can even mean the exact opposite of itself. “Getting screwed” can be an awesome thing that puts a smile on your face, or a crappy thing that ruins your day, depending on its’ context.
I ask you, what other word has that kind of flexibility and stamina?
I’ll end this classy soliloquy with some elegant quotes I compiled:
“Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity.” ~ Unknown
“Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it.” ~ Henry Rollins
“There is more to fathering than fucking” ~ Angela Carter
“Nobody dies a virgin… life fucks us all.” ~ Kurt Cobain
“Fuck today, it’s tomorrow.” ~ Freddie Mercury
“A mind is like a parachute. If it doesn’t open, you’re fucked!” ~ Don Williams, Jr
“Graffiti and Philosophy can be classified solely by the presence or omission of the word fuck.” ~ Unknown
Swearing can be trashy or mean. But it can also be a great stress reliever. Ever stub your toe to the point of hearing bones crunch and seeing stars? “Dammit” just isn’t as good a salve as “FUCKing-motherfucker”. I have no idea why.
It can also turn humdrum to haha. George Bush: “I can’t spell for fcuk.”
Cussing is the salt of life. Sprinkling a bit here and there makes for a very satisfying diet. Pouring it heavily over everything creates a nasty dish no one wants to go near.
“When angry count to four; when very angry, swear.”
~ Mark Twain